Pickens' Son Accused Of Mismanaging Company

Feb 27 2013 | 11:33am ET

A former business associate has accused T. Boone Pickens' son of running a company into the ground while using it as his personal piggy bank.

Thomas Pickens III serves as CEO of commercial space products company Astrotech. But that company's former CFO complains that Pickens has run anything but a tight ship since taking over in 2007, and has misappropriated millions of dollars.

According to John Porter, Pickens forced Astrotech's main unit to make $10 million in loans and unauthorized transfers to subsidiaries in which Pickens owned substantial stakes. The more recent transfers amount to "nearly all of the company's profits," and Pickens moved the money "without even going to the trouble of drawing up paperwork for a sham loan or seeking approval from the board."

Porter also alleges that, "every month, Mr. Pickens charges tens of thousands of dollars to his company credit cards. Mr. Pickens' prodigious spending includes thousands of dollars for clothing, sports car tires and flights all over the world, including a $20,000 trip to a TED conference in California that had nothing to do with the aerospace industry."

In addition, Porter's lawsuit said, Pickens has essentially traded office space at Astrotech's headquarters for free golf with a friend.

"Every month, the company booked a receivable from Mr. Samouce and wrote it off the same day," the according to the complaint. "Mr. Pickens boasted that he never paid for rounds of gold at Austin Country Club because Mr. Samouce paid for all of his outings in exchange for free use of the company's offices."

Porter is seeking damages for breach of fiduciary duty, waste and usurpation of corporate opportunity. In addition to Pickens, Porter also sued five Astrotech directors.

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